Joan-Pau Rubiés

Universitat Pompeu Fabra


Joan-Pau Rubiés graduated in Early Modern History at the University of Barcelona (1987), where he received the extraordinary degree prize. He went on to do a PhD at the University of Cambridge, funded with an external studentship from King's College (1987-1991). He was subsequently Research Fellow at Queens's College, Cambridge, and Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence. In 1994 he became Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Reading, and in 1999 he joined the Department of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He was Reader in International History at the LSE until 2012, when he accepted the offer of a Research Professorship at ICREA, which he holds at Universitat Pompeu Fabra. He has been twice visiting professor at the École des Hautes Études (Paris and Marseille). He is currently leading a Research Project on Ethnographies, Religious Missions and Cultural Encounters in the Early Modern World.

Research interests

I am a historian and have specialized in the study of cross-cultural encounters in the early modern world, from a perspective combining the contextual analysis of ethnographic sources with the intellectual history of early modern Europe. I am currently developing various lines of research: 1. Travel writing and ethnography, literary and visual 2. Religious missions, religious dialogue and cultural mediation 3. The intellectual impact of travel writing and the origins of the Enlightenment 4. Diplomacy and cultural encounters 5. The comparative history of early modern empires and globalization. I am the coordinator of the Research Grup on Ethnographies, Cultural Encounters and Religious Missions (ECERM) at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, which has received funding from the ERC (Marie Curie Program), AGAUR (SGR) and MINECO:

Selected publications

- Rubiés JP 2018, 'Comparing Cultures in the Early Modern World. Hierarchies, Genealogies and the Idea of European Modernity', in: Regimes of Comparatism: Frameworks of Comparison in History, Religion and Anthropology, edited by R.Gagné, S.Goldhill and G.E:R.Lloyd, Brill, Leiden and Boston, 116-172.  

- Rubiés JP 2018, '1622 y la crisis de Ormuz ¿Decadencia o reorientación?', in José Antonio Martínez Torres (coord.) Conexiones imperiales en ultramar: España y Portugal, 1575-1668, Mélanges de la Casa de Velázquez. Nouvelle Série, 48 (2):121-151.

- Rubiés JP 2018, 'Juan González de Mendoza y el descubrimiento Europeo de China', in Diego Sola, El Cronista de China. Juan González de Mendoza entre la misión, el imperio y la historia. Barcelona: Edicions Universitat de Barcelona, pp 15-27. 

- Rubiés JP 2018, 'Unfabling the East: The Enlightenment Encounter with Asia, by Jürgen Osterhammel', Times Higher Education.

Selected research activities

The Research Group Ethnographies, Cultural Encounters and Religious Missions (ECERM) which I lead at Universitat Pompeu Fabra was upgraded to the status of Consolidated Group by AGAUR, with new finance until 2020. 

Some of the talks I gave in international events in 2018:

From idolatry to religions: the missionary discourses on Hinduism and Buddhism compared, 1550-1700. The Early- modern Catholic Invention of “Oriental” “Religions”. University of Austin, Texas.

What is left of the Renaissance? The discovery of the world and man from a cosmopolitan perspective. Burckhardt at 200: The Civilization of the Renaissance reconsidered. The British Academy, London.

Imperial Agency and Cultural Mediations: Re-assessing the Portuguese Loss of Ormuz in 1622. The Iberian World and the East. Maison Française in Oxford.

The Boxer Codex as an enigma: in search of an authorial voice. Early Modern Cultural Encyclopaedias. University of Hamburg.

Translating languages and (mis) translating cultures in the Jesuit missions. A Host of Tongues. Universidade Nova, Lisbon.